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Robert James Lowry
LSA Minutes


Robert J. Lowry, Professor Emeritus of Biology, passed away on March 1, 2006, at the age of 93. He had a passionate curiosity about the workings of nature, which led to a life-long career studying plants.

Before earning his Ph.D. in botany, Dr. Lowry collected specimens for a local biological supply company and went on a three-month biological expedition to the Arctic. He also worked on the Manhattan Project as an experimental physicist during World War II.

Dr. Lowry joined the faculty of the Department of Botany at the University of Michigan in 1948, where he served until his retirement in 1981. During his 33 years on the faculty, he taught many generations of students.

Dr. Lowry’s research was concerned with the physiology and ultrastructure of fungi. He made effective use of electron microscopy as a tool to delve into the structures produced by these organisms during their growth and development. His work also included characterization of fungal cell surfaces, and some of the earliest experiments to examine the origins of the biological clock in these organisms.

He was a champion gymnast in high school, and he was interested in photography, wood working, apiculture, astronomy, and natural history.

Dr. Lowry will be remembered as a quiet man who enjoyed passing his love of plant biology on to new generations of students.

Richard I. Hume, Professor and Chair
Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology